GOD BRINGS US KICKING & SCREAMING TO FAITH: The Just shall live by faith for without it, it is impossible to please God, so God shoves us where we will have faith.(A) Do you want your faith to please God?? Are you resisting where He is placing you to trust Him? This post provides believers helpful insights on FAITH from God’s Word (over 18 centuries of inspired writings), the history of Christian believers (over 20 centuries), and my personal experience (almost a ½ century). It will be appropriate to discuss what faith is, how it is gained & what it means for us. While haters of God like to think that ideas of faith are mere intellectual playthings & theories to play with, in reality, they are foundational views that everyone bases their lives upon; & they will determine what success we have in life. Faith is the link that connects us to the divine.
HOW DOES GOD WANT US TO CONNECT WITH HIM? Without faith it is impossible to see Him. In Yahshua’s day, the Jewish religious leaders had replaced the adventure of faith, with a religious cage of rules, and this substitution was done in part to avoid knowing the Spirit of God. Because where the Spirit is, there is liberty.(B) The natural man who doesn’t know God wants to make himself acceptable to God by a moral code, instead of Holy Spirit created faith. If God showered us with carnal gifts He could bribe our selfishness. If He tyrannically used His power, then He could scare us into fearfully serving Him. If He made Himself rationally & openly known, He would still have to motivate humans to obey by fear, or bribery… or…by love. Love was the vehicle God wanted us to use to have a relationship with Him; and love & faith are intimately connected.(C) Peace & joy come with faith, & are Spirit imparted.
SUICIDE. I knew a brilliant young Christian man (a friend/sp. brother of mine), who lost his faith, & before I knew it began reading occult books, & one month later committed suicide before I could interact w/ him. I know another brilliant young agnostic who said he wished he could have faith, but he just couldn’t & soon also committed suicide. Then there are those who have material goals in life, only to discover the Biblical truth that a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of what he owns, and some of these have then discovered that FAITH was what was missing from their lives.
THE WORLD LIVES IN A TWILIGHT ENVIRONMENT FILLED WITH SPIRITUAL SMOG. The World’s culture makes it difficult for people to see reality incl. faith. They live in a world immersed in pollutants & half-truths. The movies show faith as something for the uneducated or the educated w/ severe mental hangups. Marxists say faith is an opiate for the people. They pretend they are scientific. However, think about this…is it not a heathen faith by the Marxists to believe that the communist state will wither away into a worker’s paradise?? Likewise, the Humanists in the 1973 Humanist Manifesto I & II declare themselves superior to those who use “faith & passion”. They support reason…not realizing that they have faith in reason! They also have faith in scientific methodology, and faith in mankind’s honesty & intelligence to be accurate w/ science & reason. Reason seeks objectivity, but that objectivity is not easily obtained in reality. As Quantum physics revealed that the experimenter influenced the outcome of the experiment, likewise the knower influences what is known. Objective statements are in reality a function of the way the speaker sees, & therefore involve subjective biases. Reason has limits. Faith enables us to go beyond reason. For instance, humanists claim that a person is this: “the total personality is a function of the biological organism”. But the natural world of biology does not explain all human experience. Nor do humans reflect reason. Yesterday, I met a nice couple; & the woman gave a long list of unreasonable contradictions about herself, she likes whole pickles but not sliced ones…she likes cheese on a pizza but not by the stick, etc. Plus, biology is not the whole story, there is a power greater than man’s. Through faith we see the Hand of God working throughout history as well as all kinds of truths.(D) God reveals Himself to people of different levels of intelligence & reasoning faculties, and in both rational & irrational ways. He meets people where they are at! FAITH is the victory. God descends to man, rather than the pagan idea that man ascends to godhood or to God. And yet, God who is a Spirit, must be worshipped in spirit & truth, & seen with faith. “No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”(E)
FAITH IS A GIFT. Augustine, a famous ancient Christian, is a typical example. Here was a man who was not seeking God. Of course not…the Word of God says none seek Him (F), and that Christ has no beauty that would attract the natural man.(G) God’s voice asked him to read the Word of God, which when it opened, it was ROM 13:13-14. Using those verses, the Holy Spirit convicted him of his immoral life & drunkenness. He became a new person like 2 COR 5:17 speaks about. Augustine said, “Faith is the virtue by which we believe things not seen.”(H) Paul, when he was still Saul, had a similar encounter. When I was not seeking God, His voice asked me to turn my life over to Christ, and I obeyed like Augustine did. The Spirit then rewrote my life. The faith that the Spirit gave me was a deep experience, it contained feelings, and peace but it was not any of these things.
WHAT PURPOSES DOES FAITH SERVE? Faith ennobles us. It inspires courage. When Jonathan and a helper faced 20 Philistines, by faith Jonathan climbed a cliff and God gave him a victory.(I) Apparently, the 20 Philistine soldiers thought it would be fun to kill these two in hand to hand combat, for they could have rolled rocks down the cliff as Jonathan climbed on all fours. Faith manifests in various ways, for instance, it can be a creative force that moves us through a difficult situation. By faith we can know real power, while viewing the war that is going on between the god of this World & God. By faith we realize that the real significant people & the movements that are shaping history are hidden & not well known… yet mighty. Faith can be a channel for God’s fidelity such as answering a prayer based on a divine promise. It can be the ability to see & accept Christ. It can be a gift that opens up the meaning of God’s Word. By faith, at times what appears to be dying can be realized to be enduring. Christ gave mankind fresh views of faith. When Christ’s disciples asked, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” He replied, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom He has sent.”(J) Faith overcomes the world—by extension Faith overcomes the World Order!! Faith knows that God will ultimately vindicate the forces of good.
The Word Faith. In the Greek NT, it is pistis. And pistis is used 90% of the time as action (an act of faith) and only 10% of the time as a noun, something one possesses. The biblical Hebrew word “he ‘emin” translated “faith” means closer to our word “trust”. In numerous places in the Psalms it talks about faith/trust in God’s faithfulness. Biblical faith is indeed a trust at several levels. First, one trusts God over normal methods of accomplishing. Second, one’s faith may well involve a personal risk that could have been avoided by using worldly means. Third, the trust may involve believing in an outcome that seems impossible no matter how much is risked or how brave one becomes. A Christian sister of mine through faith saw a 3 month premature baby survive & later thrive, when the doctors said it was impossible to live & demanded the plug be pulled.
ROM 1:17 STRONGLY HINTS OF THE MAIN O.T. HEBREW VIEW OF FAITH, which was trust in the faithfulness of God’s care. “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” First, this quote from Habakkuk is tied to the idea that nothing will separate us from the love of God.(K) Now note, that the “righteousness of God” is connected to faith, & that faith can grow from one degree to another degree of faith…perhaps from a faith that merely saves, to a deep strong sanctifying faith full of blessings. When one sees the hand of God blessing mankind, it builds even stronger faith. One notes how Yahshua’s disciples asked for greater faith.(L) Heavenly Father, help us get out of your way as you build our faith. Open our eyes of faith to see your will. Then give us the faith, courage & love to do that will. Through Christ & his blood we pray, Amen.
(A) “The just shall live by faith” ROM 1:17, HAB 2:4, HEB 10:38; “without faith it is impossible to please Him” HEB 11:6 (B) 2 COR 3:17, also ROM 6:15-19, 1 COR 6:12, GAL 5:1-15 and others (C) Besides the fruit (singular) joining love & faith, there are verses like 1 JN 3:23 (D) JN 12:46 (E) Worshipping him in sp. & truth=JN 4:23-24 & PHIL 3:3, No one can call him Lord w/out the Spirit= 1 COR 12:3 (F) ROM 3:11 (G) ISA 53:2 (H) Treatise 79 on John…also requoted by Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologiae (I) 1 SAM 14:4-15 (J) JN 6:28-29 (K) cf. JN 11:25 & PS 125:1 (L) LK 17:5